Friday, March 4, 2011

Review: "Fragile" by Lisa Unger

FragileFragile by Lisa Unger

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I needed to read a book by an author whose name (first or last) starts with the letter "U" in order to finish a reading challenge, and that's how I "discovered" Lisa Unger. I didn't know anything about her and her books when I started to read Fragile, so I had no expectations. Now I wish I had known what to expect, because I wasn't in the right mood to read a "depressing" book.

This story takes place in a small town called The Hollows, where everyone knows everyone - or so they think. Their peaceful - aka dreary and hopeless - suburban lives are shaken when a teenage girl goes missing. Has she run away or has she been abducted? Why? As the news are spread around town, the memories of a similar case that happened two decades earlier resurface - and long-buried secrets can no longer stay hidden. The parallels between the two (past and present) cases seem to affect everyone's life, and no one will be the same when all is finally said and done.

I had a hard time reading this book. There were too many characters and the POV shifted constantly from one to another. It was annoying, because I didn't need to be privy to the thoughts of every character that made an appearance in the story. Some of those POV were redundant, repeating what I'd already learned from other characters' POV, and some were completely unnecessary, adding nothing to the story. Anyway, regardless of their importance, all characters were connected with Jones Cooper, the head detective at the Hollows Police Department, and his wife Maggie, a psychotherapist who added a few wrinkles to my forehead due to her lack of professional ethic. Jones' and Maggie's POV were the ones who kept the story going and Ms. Unger could have ditched the other characters' POV - but that's just my opinion...

Besides the too-many-characters issue I just mentioned, I also had a problem with their characterization. I mean, there wasn't one single character who was slightly content in this story. Considering how many of them there were, it was depressing to find out that none of them knew what happiness was. Oh Ms. Unger, just slash my wrists and be done with it, will you?

As for the mystery/suspense part of the story, it was dragged too long for my taste, but it had an interesting plot twist near the end. I suspected knew that things weren't exactly what they looked like in that sleepy little town, but I hadn't figured out what exactly laid beneath the silence held by Jones & Co.

The ending wasn't to my liking either. Everything was wrapped up too neatly, which was unrealistic and disconcerting. The ending did not fit the overall story, that's all I can say without giving it away.

Based on what I wrote above, one might assume I disliked this read. Well, I didn't dislike it - but I can't say I quite liked it because it depressed the crap out of me. Strangely enough, that's also the reason this book has its merit, as I don't think Ms. Unger was aiming at delivering an uplifting story when she wrote it. So, all things considered, I guess I could say this was an okay read to me. I'm just glad I'm not one of the depressing characters in this book.

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